Posted by Tim Ireland at July 10, 2009

Category: Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The Political Weblog Movement

As a prelude to ‘smeargate’, Paul Staines went on live television and claimed that there was a Downing Street briefing document titled ‘how to get [Iain] Dale’. He even promised to publish it that very afternoon.

He didn’t.

But from that moment on Paul Staines and Iain Dale repeatedly spoke as if it existed.

Iain Dale was certain that there was a Downing St conspiracy to ‘get’ him specifically. Later, still hanging on this yet-to-be-seen document, this appeared to evolve into a claim of a Downing Street conspiracy against both of them (specifically if less exclusively).

Iain Dale was also certain that Tom Watson was involved, and said so repeatedly in a number of ways… to the extent of smearing Tom Watson, it turns out.

(Psst! Nadine Dorries was certain Gordon Brown was involved, and said so on live television. Notice how none of these ‘bloggers’ risked these claims on their own damn weblogs.)

Iain Dale’s position was (and presumably still is) that Tom Watson must have known about emails being exchanged on another person’s computer, because he was in the same office.

It would appear that Iain Dale and I have differing views on privacy, but I’ll get to that in a moment. First, you need to compare Iain Dale’s position on Tom Watson to his position on Andy Coulson:

On SKY News last night, Iain Dale insisted quite strongly that one must acknowledge the possibility that Andy Coulson while acting as editor of NOTW was unaware of the activities of one of the journalists in his office.

Iain certainly wasn’t certain that Andy Coulson must have known about this or should have known about that; he even went so far as to imply that Coulson could not even be expected to be aware of relevant payments for questionable/illegal activity because he himself did not sign the cheques.

Iain Dale said this while knowing that it was now rather a matter of Andy Coulson claiming to be unaware of the activities of not just one but as many as 20 or 30 journalists in his office, and blind to the kind of money that is certain to come to the attention of most if not all editors regardless of who actually signs the cheques.

Iain Dale said this while knowing that it is an editor’s duty to maintain the integrity, legality and profitability of any given publication.

Iain Dale said this while speaking as the editor publisher* of Total Politics magazine.

It is not just the specific acts of ‘tapping’ that are a concern, either, but the entire practice of ‘blagging’ on stories with little-to-no merit (see: ICO PDFs). Here is where Iain and I differ on privacy, and this is the reason why I think he will have very little to say about the practice of ‘blagging’:

Phil Hendren, a close ally of Iain Dale’s, once blagged my private details and published my ex-directory home phone number on his website to intimidate me into silence. Not as part of a story or toward any noble end, just to shut me up.

The way he puts it, Phil just called someone on the off chance they would have it and – gosh, what a stroke of luck – they did. So, to keep Hendren happy, let’s call it ‘casual blagging’ as opposed to creepy or downright illegal blagging. But blagging all the same. And he clearly used the data maliciously, without any hope of a ‘public interest’ defence even if he did want to play ‘Citizen Journalist’.

But Iain Dale did not publicly condemn the blagging and malicious publication; he was too busy denying being the source of the data at the time.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are few things we can be certain of, but I certainly won’t be trusting Iain Dale on this issue, even after it swallows Coulson or passes him by; when Iain’s not siding with the Tories, he’ll be siding with the tabloids. Each to their own.

[Incidentally, the reason why Phil Hendren published my number is worth a look; I pointed out that there was one person who couldn’t possibly be behind certain comments on Phil Hendren’s website, and Phil didn’t like that because… he was certain that Tom Watson was behind them (screengrab). Is it still paranoia if you think they’re out to get someone else?]

UPDATE – *Quick fix there. My bad. Iain is, of course, the publisher of Total Politics, not the editor. Which, if anything, makes it worse IMO.








Posted by Tim Ireland at July 6, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Iain Dale has been running a self-serving ‘poll’ of weblogs since 2006. When faced with any charge that his polls are heavily biased on a personal or political basis, Dale will typically claim that the poll is ‘just a bit of fun’ (with a major sponsor) and/or expect you to be pathetically grateful that it’s slightly less rigged each year.

Last year, the poll carried the ‘Total Politics’ name, suggesting that the poll was as balanced as TP’s political coverage claims to be, when the truth is voting was primarily conducted at/via a website where 70% of readers vote Tory. It even had to be pointed out to Iain at one stage last year that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to accept votes via anonymous comments (that he now admits he had no way of tracking).

After failing to honour or even acknowledge boycotts of his poll last year, this year Iain Dale offers a chance for blogs to ‘opt out’ while not admitting for one second that (a) this might amount to a boycott and/or (b) he might have been wrong not to honour/acknowledge boycotts previous to this:

If you are a blogger and do not wish your blog to be included in the polling, please email katy DOT scholes AT totalpolitics DOT com by the end of next week. All blogs will, however, be included in the directory at the back of the book. – Iain ‘liar’ Dale

(Note: Last year, Dale claimed to have acknowledged all boycotts of his poll online and in print, which was not true. This post makes no mention of any commitment to do better this year.)

Now, I realise that publicity is an issue for many bloggers, but it’s my position that this is publicity you can do without.

In fact, this year I am going to ask you to join me in boycotting this poll.

Why should you do this?

Well, let me put it this way:

1. Iain Dale is a lying, self-publicising blog-cheat who knowingly uses smears against his political enemies. Why should you reward him with the status this poll affords him?

2. The poll is (and always has been) sponsored by APCO Worldwide, a pro-tobacco PR company with a history of astro-turfing. Why should you lend credibility to a sponsor that engages in activities most bloggers regard to be abhorrent?

To boycott Iain Dale’s latest rigged poll of weblogs, please email katy DOT scholes AT totalpolitics DOT com by July 17, and make sure you request that your boycott be acknowledged (i.e. you do not wish to be included in the poll, but you do want to be listed/marked as a blogger who chose not to take part in the poll).

If Iain Dale has any integrity to speak of, he will honour your boycott and inform the readers of his magazine why certain weblogs may not appear in the charts.

Cheers all.

(Psst! In order to dodge questions from me about the likely bias of last year’s poll, Iain Dale launched a dishonest attack on my professional reputation that he later dismissed as ‘banter’. If you are going to be public about your boycott and explain your reasons why, you might want to be prepared for some backlash, most likely in the form of anonymous/personal attacks.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at July 6, 2009

Category: Old Media

Earlier this year, the Scottish edition of the Sunday Express newspaper published a front page article, “Anniversary Shame of Dunblane Survivors” (detail). It was penned by Paul Murray working under Scottish title editor, Derek Lambie. Lambie himself works under Sunday Express editor Martin Townsend (detail).

At one stage Townsend asked me to get in touch if I was in any way dissatisfied with Lambie’s attempts to resolve the matter. I have cause to doubt Martin Townsend’s sincerity, as I did just as he suggested after Lambie initially resisted widespread demands for an apology before publishing this self-serving tosh… and Townsend ignored my email!

Now, the PCC has ruled on this matter and stated quite plainly that; “the breach of the Code was so serious that no apology could remedy it” (source).

Express owner Richard Desmond (also in the news today) already has a reputation as a rogue publisher with scant regard for the PCC, so will Martin Townsend be shrugging this off as well… or will he be sacking Derek Lambie with immediate effect?








Posted by Tim Ireland at July 2, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

News reaches me via this comment in this thread that copyright for the ‘logo’ that Paul Staines has been using for well over 4 years on the ‘Guido Fawkes’ site most likely rests with IPC Magazines, and not Paul Staines (or any of the names/entities that he or his many relatives trade under).

guido fawkes mask

I recall clearly the day I accused Staines of helping himself to other peoples’ copyright-protected material and hosting it on MessageSpace servers and he drunkenly threw Donal Blaney in my face, so I’ll choose my words carefully this time (not least because I also hear that some people in this country are sensitive to a mix of expletives and pejorative terms… e.g. like ‘two-bit thieving twunt’):

So, Paul, have you always had a formal arrangement with IPC magazines for ongoing commercial use of this image that we’re/they’re somehow unaware of?

If not, then exactly how many t-shirts (and other tat/objects) have you sold with this face on it? How often have you printed or otherwise broadcast/distributed this image for publicity, gain or profit? Because I think that might be a bit of an issue if that image doesn’t belong to you.

(PS – Overheads must be a doddle if you’re as likely to just take stuff as pay for it. Is this part of the reason why you find profit-generation so effortless?)








Posted by Tim Ireland at June 29, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement, Updates

There are many things that I would love to blog about right now. I would love to tell you all about [censored] and their threat to [censored] but there are significant legal and moral obstacles.

Iain Dale knows of these obstacles. He also knows that I am effectively (and quite unjustly) silenced on this matter while suffering the continued fallout from a multi-faceted smear campaign involving an increasing number of players. (I can’t even address the Private Eye writer casually smearing me as a “nutter on a bus” in the current precarious conditions.)

However, for reasons he is keeping to himself, Iain Dale is knowingly continuing to publish and broadcast claims about me that he knows not to be true.

He does this knowing that the person smearing me is building their smears/fantasies on these false claims, and that his claims have also sparked several ‘copycat’ attacks that are no less damaging/alarming.

On top of this, the man claiming to act as Dale’s lawyer refused the offer of the relevant contact details and case number that would allow him to quickly establish why I had at least one good reason to persist in my attempts to contact Iain Dale on the weekend he was smearing Tom Watson. Instead, the man claiming to act as Dale’s lawyer has ignored my every email, for weeks now.

Further, Iain Dale has taken it upon himself to independently call people directly/tangentially involved in my case and accuse me of harassment (just as the man harassing me has been doing).

I went to call Iain Dale about this man and his recent publication(s) this morning… Iain answered the phone apparently under the impression that he was speaking not about that man, but to that man. He even greeted me by that man’s first name.

1. If Iain Dale has been in touch with the man who is harassing me, then perhaps he could admit it. Or deny it.

2. Either way, he also needs to explain why he appears to have ‘accidentally’ done so much to help that person over the past three months

3. And perhaps he could ****ing bring an end to it; I’m sure he’s quite enjoying my silence but the treatment I’ve been subjected to is entirely undeserved.

When other bloggers (from the left and right) recognised this attack on me as beyond the pale and went out of their way to help, Iain Dale took multiple steps to complicate rather than alleviate the situation. For a while there I thought that perhaps he was merely initially careless about the smears aimed at me and feared losing momentum and/or moral authority during ‘smeargate’, but his recent actions raise many doubts.

(NOTE – Iain was aware of a similar event in Guildford, but decided not to speak out about the actions of fellow Tories, and instead went on to smear me as a stalker… just as he is doing now, as it happens.)

UPDATE – No names in comments, please. It should be obvious what to avoid. Cheers all.

UPDATE – Iain Dale denies using that man’s first name in greeting on this morning’s call. He aso denies speaking to him or emailing him, but that is all Iain is prepared to say (or do) about this. He didn’t say a word about the increasingly problematic claims about me on his website that he knows to be false/untrue, be he did take a few seconds to accuse me of lying.








Posted by Tim Ireland at June 21, 2009

Category: Updates

There will be very little in the way of blogging this week but you can follow me on Twitter if you like.

Comments are closed at this time.

Cheers all.

Richard O’Brien: Over At The Frankenstein Place (Acoustic Version)








Posted by Tim Ireland at June 14, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

The funeral for Dave Halligan is this Friday (19 June).

If you would like to send a message of condolence and/or share your memories of Poons with his family and friends, please send them to my Gmail address no later than 12:00 midday on Thursday (18 June):

( bloggerheads DOT com AT gmail DOT com )

-.– In your email, please use the following as your subject header (including brackets): [poons]

-.– Please also make sure that you sign your message with the name or nickname that you regard to be most suitable for this purpose (keeping in mind that these messages will not be posted on the web, and only seen by myself, then Dave’s family and closest friends).

I will be collating these messages into a single document and passing this on in time for it to be printed and suitably presented at the funeral reception, where it will be made available to guests.

Thank you.








Posted by Tim Ireland at June 8, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

“As many of you will by now be aware, the one and only Dave Halligan ceased to be on Saturday, 30th May 2009. The funeral will take place in Birkenhead in a couple of weeks. A lot of folks will be unable to attend, so the intention is to have a ceremony of our own in order to share our memories of Dave at a time when everyone can make it. Please feel free to post any ideas you may have here. Thank you all.” (source)

Poons was a longtime supporter of and comment contributor to Bloggerheads. In fact, his last post on his main weblog was made in support of me.

Recently, Poons spent most of his time on this alternative weblog, and I’ll let the introduction speak for itself:

Hi my name is poons and I am an alcoholic.

I also suffer from depression and have suicidal tendencies.

I tried to end it all on Monday 20th April 2009 and so I will document the consequences of that action.

The main objective of this blog is to allow my friends and family to keep up with where I am at, and maybe on the way inspire other people who find themselves in a similar situation so that they also make steps to address the issues of alcohol dependency and depression which I have found go arm in arm.

I will endeavour to post daily updates about my progress and details of the help I am receiving with pointers to hopefully help others who wish to get their own life back on track.

Despite support from myself and many others much closer to him, on Saturday 30th May 2009 Poons lost his battle to manage his alcohol intake & handle depression, and took his own life sometime after this last post at 3pm on that same day.

Poons is gone.

I’m going to have to do something to celebrate his life… but right now I’m busy mourning his death.

Back shortly.








Posted by Tim Ireland at June 4, 2009

Category: Tolerance

This is a photo from a friend’s private collection. I hereby dedicate this scan to all the little Hitlers of the world.

Bless them, their ickle jackboots, their adorably unsteady goose-stepping, and most of all their dream of not only annexing the sandpit, but (one day) the entire playground.

It's a little Hitler








Posted by Tim Ireland at June 4, 2009

Category: Tolerance

Right-click, ‘save us’, upload to Twitter, then tweet:

Easy. Now go out and vote.

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